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Out with the old will, in with the new

No matter how hard St. Paul residents try, they cannot predict the future. Circumstances change over time, which can lead individuals to make different decisions than they would have years earlier.

With the help of an estate planning attorney, however, individuals can make some educated guess about what may happen in the future. Tax considerations, potential heirs and other matters can be some of the

inheritance issues considered in the planning of individuals' wills.

Even with proper planning, however, there are times where individuals may want to change what was included in a prior will. Accordingly, it is important to know how to revoke the prior will so that its provisions do not stay in effect after they no longer meet the person's goals.

Under the law, individuals can use several methods to revoke a will. As an initial matter, individuals can simply destroy the old will, such as tearing it up or burning it up. While this is an acceptable way of revoking a will, it is not favored because it could lead to some confusion down the road as to what the person's intentions were, assuming those individuals down the road know the will was destroyed in the first place.

Accordingly, it is often advised to take other measures to revoke a will, such as executing a written revocation. This can either be done on its own, or in conjunction with making a new will, which is often preferable. After all, if the person's intentions have changed in such a way that he or she wants to revoke the old will, there are often new terms the person will want in a new will to express the changed intentions.

While this option may be best, individuals must be sure they follow the formalities that are required for the new will to take effect. By working with an estate planning attorney, individuals can ensure these formalities are satisfied, and that their intentions are clear.

Source: NWI Times, "Estate planning: revoking a will," Christopher W. Yugo, March 15, 2014

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